Some tips from Captain Anthony LaBerge and Mayor Marsha McLean:
Senior citizens continue to be a rapidly increasing segment of our population and that makes them a prime target for con artists and thieves. Americans who are 65 or older represent and about 13 percent of our country’s population, but currently represent 35% of all fraud victims nationwide!
Studies have shown that senior citizens are more at risk to be targeted by telemarketing and other scams than other age groups, and fraudulent telemarketers direct anywhere the majority of their calls at older Americans. These con artists believe that senior citizens are vulnerable and more susceptible to their tricks.
Every year, illegal telemarketing and mail fraud schemes rob consumers, often elderly citizens, of their hard-earned life-savings. In our communities, identity theft is one of the fastest rising crimes, and seniors are key victims for it as well as phone and lottery scams.
Several factors make seniors more vulnerable to fraud, including: a desire to be helpful or charitable opens the door to those who wish to fraudulently tug at the heart strings; a generation with more trust of others provides opportunity to abuse that trust; loneliness makes a senior more willing to talk with a friendly stranger; seniors tend to be home when the con artists wish to stalk their prey; some seniors have lost a degree of physical or mental acuity making them even more vulnerable.
Protecting our community, including our seniors, is a high priority for both the Sheriffs Department and the City of Santa Clarita. During “Safe Communities Month” in March, we’ve teamed up to provide two free programs for seniors. The Senior Safety Programs are free and open to the public. The first will be held on Wednesday, March 7 at 2 p.m. at the Newhall Senior Center, 22900 Market Street. The second (both are the same) will be held on Thursday, March 8 at 10 a.m. at the Canterbury Village Senior Center at 23420 W. Avenida Rotella. The Senior Safety programs will provide seniors with information about fraud and identity theft, phone a lottery scams, as well as elder fraud identity theft and personal safety.
The savvy senior is the best weapon against consumer fraud! If you are a senior, if you are caring for a senior, or if you would just like more information about preventing senior scams, we invite you to attend this important program. For more information, please contact Sgt. Gregg Lewison at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriffs Station at 661-799-5158.